Orascom Construction shares begin trading in Dubai

CEO says this week's listings in Dubai and Cairo represent a "fresh start" for the group

Iowa Fertiliser Co plant being built by Orascom Construction in the US
Iowa Fertiliser Co plant being built by Orascom Construction in the US

The company has listed its shares on the Dubai market and is set to issue a joint listing on the Egyptian Exchange in Cairo either tomorrow (10 March) or on Wednesday.

"I'm very excited to be here in Dubai. Dubai provides institutional UK and US shareholders a base that is dollar denominated, plus our listing this week in Cairo will also allow us to come back to Cairo. This was our origin, where we started."

Bishai said that he didn't expect trading in the firm's shares to be very volatile. Although some Netherlands-based index funds who were given shares in Orascom Construction under the demerger deal were expected to exit the business, he said that "we know our major anchor shareholders will continue with us".

In early trading, the company's shares had climbed by around 2% to $14.55.

Bishai said that Orascom Construcion "is the origin of the whole group".

"It has been the driver of OCI since its inception - even prior to our first listing in 1999. Since then, it has spawned a cement division that was sold off to Lafarge in a $12.8bn deal in 2008 and a major fertiliser business which was set up in 2005 from which it has just demerged.

"I always call it back to the future," Bishai said. "It's another fresh start for us.

"It's also interesting for us because the Middle East has a better grasp of the construction business than other places. And it has the potential of high growth."

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